Looking to do something a little different on your trip to Africa? Here are a few of our favorite camps and lodges that put a bit of a different spin on the classic safari experience.
1. Join the herd at Abu Camp.
Located on a private, 450,000-acre concession in the heart of the Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Abu Camp has a unique focus on elephant conservation and introducing previously captive individuals back into the wild. Guests get to know members of the herd, learn about elephant behavior, care and conservation, and explore the spectacular surrounding wilderness in their company.
2. Primates in paradise at Greystoke Mahale.
With just six luxury bandas constructed of locally sourced, sustainable materials, Tanzania’s luxurious Greystoke Mahale offers guests unmatched seclusion and comfort in one of Africa’s most dramatically beautiful settings. The camp, which is nestled in the fringes of a forest along a pristine white sand beach, offers stunning views of, and easy access to, the turquoise blue waters of Lake Tanganyika. The real highlight here is the opportunity to venture into the towering Mahale Mountains and spend time with wild chimps in their natural habitat.
3. In search of the desert-adapted rhinos and elephants at Damaraland Camp.
Namibia’s vast and ruggedly beautiful Damarland desert is considered by many to be one of Africa’s most pristine wildernesses. It’s also one of the last strongholds of the rare and endangered desert-adapted black rhino. Guests at Damaraland Camp can venture out on foot and search for these remarkable animals, as well as desert-adapated elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, and other species, in the company of skilled trackers.
If you’re looking for lions, leopards, elephants and other members of Africa’s famed ‘Big Five,’ don’t come to Rocktail Beach Camp. The highlight here is the opportunity to explore South Africa’s lush Maputaland Coastal Forest and unspoiled Maputaland Marine Reserve. The camp, which sits along ancient sand dunes, offers easy access to some of the most spectacular and pristine beaches on the entire continent as well as world class snorkeling and diving.
Giraffe Manor isn’t really a safari camp. It’s a comfortable, charming, boutique hotel located in a quiet suburb of Nairobi. It made this list because it provides guests with the unique opportunity to rub shoulders with a herd of resident Rothschild giraffes, which freely roam the grounds and often poke their heads in to say hello.
Namibia’s Okonjima Reserve is a 55,000-acre sanctuary for large carnivores, cheetahs and leopards in particular, that have been on the losing end of encounters with humans. Over 1,000 animals have been rescued and 85% have been rehabilitated and returned to the wild. The AfriCat foundation, which is based here, also teaches farmers how to protect their livestock from predators without resorting to lethal force. Guests can track leopards and get pretty close to cheetahs and see a variety of other species on game drives and walks. Best of all, your stay benefits conservation.